A former employee at an Oregon education agency has won a whistleblower lawsuit worth nearly a million dollars.
Michael Wright worked at the Oregon School for the Blind until state lawmakers closed it in 2009. Then he went to work for the Northwest Regional Education Service District.
That's the agency responsible for spending money legislators set aside to help visually-impaired students.
In his lawsuit, Wright argued he was fired because he complained to administrators that blind children weren't getting the money lawmakers intended for them.
He won a judgment this week worth $970,000.
“There were actual damages, and other damages listed, but it really wasn¹t about the money. It was about being able to show that students’ needs weren’t being met, and that I had been fired because I stood
up for them.”
The ESD’s superintendent, James Sager, released a statement expressing “surprise” at the jury's verdict. It says the ESD took Wright's concerns seriously, and they weren’t the reason he was fired.
The ESD says it is reviewing its legal options.